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Expansion: Grocery, restaurant workers can book their COVID-19 vaccine

Those with certain health conditions can start booking starting Tuesday, as well, with people 40 and up eligible to attend mass vaccination clinic starting May 13
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Ontario is expanding its vaccine rollout plan on two fronts this week. (Maksim Goncharenok/Pexels)

Ontario is expanding its vaccine rollout plan on two fronts this week.

As of Tuesday, May 11, 2021 at 8 a.m., individuals with at-risk health conditions such as dementia, diabetes and sickle cell disease, as well as Group Two of people who cannot work from home including grocery store, restaurant and transportation workers will be eligible to book an appointment to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

The Ontario government said this is due largely to "a stable and reliable increase in vaccine supply"

In addition, effective Thursday, May 13, 2021, at 8:00 a.m., individuals turning 40 and over in 2021 in non-hot spot communities will also be eligible to book an appointment to receive the COVID-19 vaccine at a mass immunization clinic.

Eligible individuals can schedule an appointment through the provincial booking system, or directly through public health units that use their own booking system. This builds upon the eligibility of those aged 18 and over in hot spot areas and is aligned with the rollout announced on May 2, 2021. There are no designated hot spot areas in the Sudbury jurisdiction.

Health Minister Christine Elliott said this means the province should be able to have close to two-third of all Ontario residents having their first vaccine dose by the end of the month.

“With a stable and predictable supply of vaccines, Ontario’s vaccine rollout continues to pick up speed, and we are on track to administer a first dose to 65 per cent of Ontario adults by the end of May,” said Elliott. 

“As we continue to vaccinate even more Ontarians, we remain focused on protecting those most at risk," she added.

The province said because of the increased vaccine supply the province is adding high-risk health care workers, dialysis patients, and all First Nations, Inuit and Métis individuals to the list of those eligible to book their appointment to receive a second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine earlier than the extended four-month interval.

These groups face a greater risk of contracting and suffering serious illness from COVID-19. Eligibility for booking will begin by the end of the week of May 10, 2021 and booking details will be provided in the coming days, said a news release from the Ministry of Health, said the release. 

Also, to make it easier than ever to get vaccinated, the province has expanded use of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines to pharmacies in hot spot areas. Nearly 80 pharmacy locations are offering the Pfizer vaccine in Toronto and Peel, and up to 60 pharmacies are offering the Moderna vaccine in Durham, Hamilton, Ottawa, Windsor-Essex and York regions to individuals aged 18 and over. Further expansion of pharmacy locations offering COVID-19 vaccines will continue through May.